It has been eons since I bought a boxed ground beef helper. Why? These types of convenience foods are expensive for what you get and the are laden with food additives. I checked a box for the ingredients at the grocery store the other day. Most contain maltodextrin (a corn sugar that is highly addictive creating cravings for it), monosodium glutamate (triggers headaches and allergic reactions), modified milk ingredients, natural flavour (could be anything!) and if the product has cheese, the cheese is dried. A pasta based helper perhaps has a cup of dried pasta, the seasoning packet and you provide the meat and liquid at a cost of more than four times the cost of dried pasta bought on sale and adding your own fresh ingredients and cheese. I have several versions of homemade ground meat helper, all fresh and easily prepared in about the same time it takes to prepare a boxed version AND they eliminate the cost of the boxed mix along with all the additives.
The other day, I made a faux lasagna casserole using 2 lb of lean ground beef. It had a lovely flavour, very much like lasagna without the work. Quite frankly, I don't find lasagna a lot of work even making the sauce from scratch but I wanted a quick meal that night.
source: Garden Gnome
2 lb lean ground beef
2 c broad egg noodles
2 c shredded mozarella cheese
½ c shredded cheddar cheese
¼ c cottage cheese
1 c shredded Parmesan cheese (divided)
1 L (4 c) roasted Italian garden sauce with mushrooms
Brown the ground beef and drain. Cook and drain the pasta. Pour ground beef into a large mixing bowl. Pour the sauce over the meat. Mix well. Stir in the pasta then all the cheese reserving ½ c of the Parmesan cheese. Mix well. Pour into oven proof baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes or until warmed through and bubbly.
The proof is in the taste and hands down this faux lasagna is a winner. It is rich, creamy and cheesy sure to satisfy any lasagna craving in short order. I usually use 7 to 9 cheeses in my homemade lasagna but this recipe only had 4 cheeses. The mozzarella cheese could easily be reduced to 1 c then add in another cup of any desired cheese. Over all though, this was a very nice casserole!